Rend My Heart, Not My Garments

Today’s readings:
Joel 2:12-18
Psalms 51:3-6, 12-17
2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

It’s Ash Wednesday, today, and I now begin the Lenten season with the rest of the Church. It is time that I return to my Lord, our God.

[quote]You are merciful to all, O Lord, / and despise nothing that you have made. / You overlook people’s sins, to bring them to repentance, / and you spare them, for you are the Lord our God. (Wisdom 11:24-27)[/quote]

My confession two weeks ago was a milestone. The Holy Spirit encouraged me to share the Good News. He changed my fruitless obsession to an obsession for the Word of God. In just a little over a week, I can already feel a change in my soul. Reading the Holy Scriptures and reflecting on the Word of God, focusing on what His Word means for me right now in my life is profoundly affecting me. I can feel my soul reach out to Him. I pray that I will continue these Reflections on Scripture. I pray that the Holy Spirit will sustain my efforts to be close to God. “Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me. Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me” (Psalms 51:11-12).

The one major thing I’d like to sacrifice this Lenten season is my addiction to Netflix. For 40 days and 40 nights, I will not log on to Netflix to watch any movie or show. I’ve been very addicted to it lately. I would go on all-night binge viewings several nights out of the week to chase a particular TV series. First it was “Star Trek: Voyager.” Then, it was “Mad Men.” Now, it’s “Battlestar Galactica.” It’ll be good for me. Now, I’ll have more time to think about God.

The second reading today particularly struck me: “We are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us” (2 Cor 5:20). I’m so eager to become “Minister-Counselor” within the Foreign Service. Why is it more important for me to reach ambassador-rank for the United States than it is to be an ambassador for the Kingdom of God? It’s because I love the world; and I risk being an enemy of God. If I ever reach the Senior Foreign Service, it will be by the grace of God, not by my own efforts. But if I try very hard to become minister-counselor, at the expense of my health, my family, my colleagues and the greater community, then I would be in danger of being blind to God’s will. I should seek first God’s will; and I’m confident that, at this moment, His will isn’t for me to sacrifice my talents to become a minister-counselor. He wants me to put my talents elsewhere. I can always hope that a minister-counselor will be a by-product… haha.

“When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you” (Matthew 6:3-4). This is a good thing to remember as I grow in charity.

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